Summary: Nephi sees in vision: the church of the devil set up among the Gentiles; the discovery and colonizing of America; the loss of many plain and precious parts of the Bible; the resultant state of gentile apostasy; the restoration of the gospel, the coming forth of latter-day scripture, and the building up of Zion. Between 600 and 592 B.C.
This chapter is a continuation of Nephi's vision.
In verses 1-10 the angel shows him the nations of the Gentiles, and the great abominable church that is built up. The characteristics of this church include: the slaying of the saints of God for the praise of the world, bringing people into captivity, and desiring gold, and silver, and silks, and scarlets, and fine-twined line, and all manner of precious clothing and harlots.
Then, in verse 12, the Spirit of the Lord came down and wrought upon the man. This is referring to Colombus. Isn't that amazing? And it says that he was separated from the Gentiles and came across the waters to the seed of Nephi's brethren, in the promised land.
And then many Gentiles came over -specifically the white people. And they did prosper in the promised land, because they humbled themselves after coming out of captivity in their previous lands. So the power of God was with them.
So what comes next? Well, the revolutionary war!
17 And I beheld that their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them.
18 And I beheld that the power of God was with them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle.
19 And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations.
Wow, that is so neat!
The angel then shows Nephi the "book" that is being carried by these Gentiles in this land. It is the bible. The angel explains that it is a lot like his brass plates, yet not as many engravings. (Can you imagine that? I think the Bible is huge!) Unfortunately, the abomidable church took many precious things out of the bible.
29 And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.
And then finally, the Book of Mormon is brought forth to the people:
39 And after it had come forth unto them I beheld other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb, from the Gentiles unto them, unto the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true.
40 And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.
A bit of commentary:
One thing that I have been thinking about lately is: Every good thing comes from God.
I don't remember why I started thinking about this, but I remember the exact intersection that I was at the other day when I had these thoughts in my mind. Colombus may not have lived during a time when the church was on the earth, but he was a great instrument in the hand of God in discovering or "re-discovering" America. The spirit of God was upon him. He did not do it alone. Just as when our country won the Revoluntionary war. We did not win because of our own skill, luck, talent, strategy, etc. It's because of the hand of the Lord.
Even in modern days, discoveries, inventions, cures for diseases, scientific theorys, everything is because of the Spirit of the Lord. A man cannot take credit for his own talents, discoveries, or intelligence. They are all gifts from God to use for the good of mankind. God has his hand in all things. Even when people do not give Him credit. Every good thing comes from him.